AN ACT TO MAKE CHANGES TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE PRINCIPAL FELLOWS COMMISSION, TO CLARIFY THE AUTHORITY OF THE COMMISSION OVER THE TRANSFORMING PRINCIPAL PREPARATION PROGRAM AND VARIOUS OTHER CHANGES TO THE PROGRAM, AND TO TRANSFER THE FUNDS AND ADMINISTRATION OF INDIVIDUAL FORGIVABLE SCHOLARSHIP LOANS FROM THE PRINCIPAL FELLOWS PROGRAM TO THE PRINCIPAL FELLOWS AND TRANSFORMING PRINCIPAL PREPARATION GRANT PROGRAM.
Sections 1 and 2
Amends GS 116-74.41, concerning the NC Principal Fellows Commission (Commission). Now includes in the Commission's charge the administration of the Principal Fellows Program and the Transforming Principal Transformation Grant Program (rather than solely the Principal Fellows Program). Modifies the 12-member Commission to now include one (was two) dean of a school of education appointed by the President of UNC, one dean of a school of eduction appointed by the President of the NC Independent Colleges and Universities (previously not included), and one human resources expert from the public or private sector appointed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction (was, one parent of a public school child appointed by the Superintendent). Makes technical changes and maintains that appointments are for four-year terms.
Requires the terms of the current members representing two deans of school of education and a parent of a public school child to expire July 1, 2019, and the initial appointments of the three members, representing as now described, to be made by August 1, 2019, with the member representing a human resources expert serving a term to expire July 1, 2023, and the members representing a dean of a school appointed by the UNC President and a dean of a school appointed by the President of the Independent Colleges and Universities serving for terms expiring July 1, 2021.
Expands the authorized uses of the Principal Fellows Trust Fund (Fund) to include, beginning with the 2019-20 fiscal year, the award of grants for the Transforming Principal Preparation Grant Program, established under GS 116-209.71, with any monies in the Fund that are unencumbered due to a reduction in the number of scholarship funds awarded under the Principal Fellows Program. Now requires (rather than permits) the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) to use up to $800,000 from the Fund each fiscal year for the five enumerated purposes, including the salary and benefits of the staff (was directors) of the Principal Fellows Program and the expenses of the Commission's administration of the Transforming Principal Preparation Grant Program under Part 4 of Article 23.
Amends GS 116-209.70, concerning the Transforming Principal Preparation Grant Program, to expand the purpose of the Program to include providing forgivable loans to the participants of leader preparation programs. Amends GS 116-209.71 to now require the Authority to collaborate with the Commission for the administration of the Transforming Principal Preparation Grant Program (TP3), selecting grant recipients and notifying the Authority for the award of grants, and monitoring the implementation of forgivable scholarship loans to school leader preparation program participants (previously, included the Commission making recommendations to the Authority for the award of grants). Modifies the definitions set forth applicable to Part 4, Article 23, by modifying the criteria under the term high-need school to now include qualification for a middle school containing any of grades five through eight that feeds into a high school with less than 75% (was, 60%) four-year cohort graduation rate, and a high school with less than 75% (was 60%) four-year cohort graduation rate. Adds the term public school, defined to include elementary or secondary schools in the State operated by a local board, charter school board, regional school board, chancellor for a UNC laboratory school, an innovative school operator, or the US government.
Amends GS 116-209.72, authorizing eligible entities to create partnerships to develop and establish school leader preparation programs and apply jointly to be a grant recipient. Modifies the application requirements to include the extent to which the entity has a rigorous school leader preparation program design that includes rigorous selection criteria based on evidence of significant positive effect on student learning growth in the classroom at the public-school level (was, at the school level and the local school administrative unit level).
Amends GS 116-209.73, requiring the Commission to notify (was, recommend) the Authority of its selection of grant recipients under TP3 each fiscal year. Adds that the Commission must select up to eight grant recipients operating a school leader preparation program with grant funds in any fiscal year. Adds to the required use of grant funds by each eligible entity to require covering the cost of attendance and completion for program participants for the school leader preparation program from the funds received on behalf of program participants through forgivable scholarship loans. Requires the Commission to notify (was recommend) the Authority of its decisions on the duration and renewal of grants. Modifies the parameters for grant duration and renewal to now require the grants be for no fewer than two years, unless the Commission finds early termination of a grant necessary due to noncompliance with grant terms. Now requires the Commission rather than grantees to develop and enforce requirements for the disbursement of funds to the grantee for forgivable scholarship loans on behalf of program participants, including the requirements that program participants serve a minimum of four years as school-based administrators in public schools in the State. Requires the grantee to facilitate the execution of promissory notes between the Authority and program participants containing the terms for forgivable scholarship loans, including requirements for forgiveness or repayment, consistent with GS 116-209.76, as enacted. Additionally requires the Commission to monitor the repayment of a forgivable scholarship loan in collaboration with grantees. Makes conforming changes to refer to the Commission's grant renewal decisions, rather than recommendations.
Enacts GS 116-209.76, setting forth the terms of forgivable scholarship loans. Requires evidence of the loan by promissory note, bearing interest at no more than 10% annually, beginning at the earlier of 90 days after completion of the school leader preparation program or 90 days after termination of the loan. Requires the loan to be disbursed directly to the grantee. Allows termination upon withdrawal from the preparation program or noncompliance with the standards set by the Commission. Provides for forgiveness of the total loan amount and interest accrued if, within seven years after graduation from a school leader preparation program, the recipient serves as a school administrator at a NC public school for four years, excluding authorized deferment for extenuating circumstances. Eligibility includes $20,000 per year for up to four years in the program, with a maximum loan amount of $40,000 per participant. Allows for the recipient to receive 25% of the total amount of the loan forgiven for each year of qualifying service regardless of whether the recipient serves for the entire four years. Requires the Commission and the grantees to monitor service repayment agreements and compliance. Requires the Commission to notify the Authority of any change in the circumstances pertaining to the note. Allows a loan to be forgiven if the Commission finds it is impossible for the recipient to work for four years as a school administrator, within seven years after completion of the program, because of the death or permanent disability of the recipient. Requires the loan to be repaid within 12 years after completion of the program if the recipient is paying with cash payments. Provides for payment of principal and interest to begin no later than 27 months after completion of the program, with extension available for extenuating circumstances for cash payments for a period of no more than a total of 15 years.
Effective July 1, 2019, and applies to administration of the TP3 and the award of grants on or after that date.
Repeals Article 5C, NC Principal Fellows Program, of GS Chapter 116.
Modifies Part 4, Article 23, GS Chapter 116, to combine the administration of the Principal Fellows Program and TP3. Amends GS 116-209.71, now establishing the 12-member NC Principal Fellows and TP3 Commission (combined Commission), housed at NC State University, with representative membership identical to that of the combined Commission under GS 116-74.41, as amended and repealed. Provides for the independent exercise of powers and duties by the combined Commission, staffing of the combined Commission, member vacancies, expenses, and combined Commission meetings. Provides for four-year terms.
Deletes the provisions concerning the funds for administration, set forth in GS 116-209.75, as enacted in SL 2018-145. Now creates the NC Principal Fellows and TP3 Trust Fund (Trust Fund) as an institutional trust fund, consisting of appropriations and funds received for the award of grants, funds received as repayment for forgivable scholarship loans (including repayment for loans under the former Principal Fellows Program under repealed Article 5C), and all interest earned. Restricts use of the Trust Fund to the award of grants under the combined Grant Program, administrative costs, and operation costs. Allows the Authority to use up to 2% (was, up to $20,000) of funds appropriated each fiscal year for its administrative costs. Requires the Authority to allocate up to $800,000 to the Commission each fiscal year for the expenses of the combined program administrations; salary and benefits of the combined program staff; and the combined program monitoring, evaluation, and extracurricular enhancement activities for program participants (previously called for Commission expenses for administration to be covered pursuant to GS 116-74.42).
Enacts GS 116-209.77 to mandate the Commission to appoint a director of the Principal Fellows and TP3 Grant Program, who must chair and staff the Commission, and administer extracurricular activities of the combined Grant Program. Requires NC State to provide office space and clerical support for the combined Grant Program.
Amends GS 115-204 to add to the duties of the Authority collecting loan repayments for scholarship loans awarded under the former Principal Fellows Program under Article 5C if the loan repayment is outstanding for more than 30 days.
Enacts GS 116-209.28, to require the Authority to, as of July 1, 2021, administer all outstanding scholarship loans previously awarded by the former NC Principal Fellows Commission and subject to repayment under the former Program administered under Article 5C, as repealed. Requires all repayment and interest earned under the former Program to be deposited into the Trust Fund established under the act.
Makes conforming changes to GS 120-123(59a) to exclude legislators from membership of the NC Principal Fellows and TP3 Commission.
Requires that, beginning with the 2021-22 fiscal year, of the funds appropriated from the General Fund to the Principal Fellows Trust Fund under GS 116-74.42 each fiscal year, $3,258,000 in recurring funds must instead be appropriated to the Trust Fund established under the act to be used to award grants for the combined Grant Program. Additionally requires that, beginning with the 2021-22 fiscal year, of the funds appropriated from the General Fund to the UNC Board of Governors for TP3 each fiscal year, $4,580,000 in recurring funds must instead be appropriated to the Trust Fund to be issued to award grants for the combined Grant Program.
Repeals Section 11.9(o) of SL 2015-241, as amended by previous law and Section 4 of the act, regarding the grant program to transform the preparation of principals in the State.
Directs the Office of State Budget and Management to transfer the unexpended balance of the Fund to the Trust Fund. Requires the NC Principal Fellows Commission to make final scholarship loan awards for the 2021 spring academic semester prior to the transfer of the cash balance from the Fund. Effective June 30, 2021.
Sections 5 and 6
Provides for members of the Commission as of July 1, 2021, who were appointed pursuant to GS 116-74.41 to serve the remainder of their terms as members of the combined Commission, with subsequent vacancies and appointments made pursuant to GS 116-209.71, as amended.
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